It’s been a pretty great week in Jets Nation. A frenetic win over Toronto, including a powerplay that looked like nothing we’d see all year (thank the Hockey Gods equivalent of baby Jesus), had the MTS Centre hopping. Points in four straight, a feeling like the playoffs are within reach. Derek Meech and Grant Clitsome look like contributors in the absence of Enstrom. The penalty kill has been perfect 9 games running. And maybe best of all, there is a string of good news on the prospect front, including Scheifele, Trouba, and rumours of college free agent signing on the horizon.
Recently, Hockey News canvassed NHL scouts for their Future Watch feature, and put up a teaser on the website. That teaser includes how the 2012 draft would be ranked if it were re-done today. There is a surprising amount of change, and it’s worth the read. Of note for Jets fans? Jacob Trouba jumps from #9 where he was taken to #4, behind Yakupov, Galchenyuk, and Ryan Murray. Patience is always the key word with prospects, and it might be 5 years before we know what we have in Trouba, but it’s gratifying to hear professional scouts say that as of today, he might be the 4th best player in his draft year.
In other prospect news, the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll results came out this week, showing Scheifele’s improvement year-over-year, and ranking him among the best goal scorers in the Conference. Scheifele earned Most Dangerous in the Goal Area, Best Shot, second in Faceoffs, and tied for second in best Shootout Shooter as well. This compared to last season’s rankings of #3 in Most Dangerous in the Goal Area, #3 in Faceoffs, and #2 in best Shootout Shooter. I can’t wait to see him back in a Jets uniform. Scheifele just keeps improving, and while the OHL isn’t the NHL, being among the most dangerous scorers in your conference (even as an over-ager) is impressive.
And finally, this story about Northern Michigan Wildcats goalie Jared Coreau caught my attention. Coreau has been sniffing around rookie camps for a few years now, attending with the Sharks, Rangers, Flames and Oilers over the past 2 years. A 21-year old, 6’4" Junior-going-on-Senior, Coreau notes in the artcle that he’s been talking with the Jets "a lot" this year, and that at least 6 other teams have expressed interest. His coach, Walt Kyle is quoted as saying he could be All-American in his Senior year if he were to stay, but will certainly get offers if he turns pro. Coreau was one of only 5 goalies in the NCAA to stop more than 1,000 shots this past year after starting all 38 games for the Wildcats, and won two CCHA Goaltender of the Week awards.
For a team looking to add prospect depth and develop internally, adding College free agents is like found money. His development is three years further along than a drafted player, and he costs nothing but money and a name against the 50-man contract limit. With both Pasquale and Dekanich struggling on the farm this year and an established and underwhelming back up in Montoya, Coreau may have a chance at some heavy playing time in the Jets system.